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WATSONVILLE, Calif. – The chilling temperatures haven’t put the damper on California’s year-round crop of strawberries grown here, although the industry is experiencing a temporary setback that will take about six weeks to rebuild to normal volumes.
“It’s winter and we expect bad weather,” said Mark Murai, president of the California Strawberry Commission. “Farmers recognize that when we get an extra chill, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can beneficial. It can stimulate production later and we could end up with a very good year.”
January and February are the lowest-producing months for California strawberries. Unlike other fruits that have only one crop per year, strawberries plants continually produce fruit throughout the year, and so growers have only lost a portion of fruit currently on the plant.
Although there has been some frost damage in the southern parts of the state, CSC said the plants are still in a very early stage and will soon recover, thus producing flowers that will become the next set of fruit. Murai said farmers are optimistic the volume of fruit will begin to return to normal production levels within a few weeks.
In other news, CSC said it will host the California Strawberry Food Safety Summit at the Monterey Conference Center on Feb 6. “With renewed emphasis on food safety, the Commission continues its leadership role in helping growers produce safe, wholesome strawberries,” said Murai.
The educational summit will bring together California strawberry industry leaders, prominent experts and regulators who are responding on the front lines of food safety crises. A variety of expert speakers are scheduled to speak at the event.